Thursday, February 05, 2015

A Dozen More Native Plants to Try

To start 2015 off with a bang, I listed a few favorite native plants to try out...you can read all about the list here. There were a lot of plants on that list. I had to edit out many to make it a post of reasonable length. Then I thought why not make this a fairly regular category on my blog? How about lists of great native plants, ones I have experience with in my own garden? And ones I don't have but would like to investigate and maybe add? Without further adieu, here is an addition to the ever continuing list of very worthy Pacific Northwest native plants:

This first grouping pictured above does not count towards the dozen listed today, but it illustrates three natives that I love and grow throughout Chickadee Gardens, three groundcovers: Oxalis oregana, Asarum caudatum or wild ginger and Sedum oreganum or Oregon stonecrop. They intermingle well and just ended up together. I did not plan this grouping.

My goal here is to showcase native plants in closeup photos, foliage and flower shots (maybe not in the same post), wider shots as mature specimens in my garden, and as seen in other settings in the wild and in other gardens. I may not always have photos of both but I will share what I have and continue to gather photos and information. I also hope to showcase plants I may not necessarily grow myself but either plan to or show ones that I simply admire. There are many out there that I don't grow simply for lack of space, so if you have some great natives that you grow, let me know and perhaps I can pay you a visit! Let's spread the word and the visual encyclopedia of plants.

Moving on!


Rosa nutkana or Nootka rose. These were photographed at Mt. Tabor Park where they have naturalized. Beautiful hips in the fall, deciduous plants.


They can get quite tall.


Lovely fall color.


This rose is in the hell strip in our garden. It is totally neglected and yet very vigorous. In fact, I considered taking it out, it could take over the whole thing eventually which might not be such a bad thing. I'm unsure what its future will hold, but it's a great plant for certain situations. Its blooms are a very pretty pink. Unfortunately, I do not have a photo.


Here's a curious vine, a native honeysuckle, Lonicera ciliosa or orange honeysuckle. This is a deciduous vine that sports bright orange flowers.


This is just forming buds. When in bloom they are bright orange and quite striking especially as it is a woodland vine, so in the shade it is a wonderful treat. Mine took a while to get going but now is doing quite well. 


Here's some bright new growth on a Rhododendron occidentale or western azalea, a deciduous azalea that smells heavenly. Bright green new growth that will eventually give way to reddish fall color.


The blooms come in shades of white to pink to peach, and oh my gosh they smell of Asian lilies, no kidding. Grow these now if you don't already. I will get a better flower photo this spring.


There it is, smack in the middle above the fern, of course overcrowded in my proudly
 "crammit style" (a la Danger Garden) of gardening.
They can take some sun, can get up to 12 feet tall but usually stay about 4 feet tall. They like the edge of a forest and do like water. Here's a great informative article I found on Pacific Horticulture's website about them. Read about it here. If you have the proper setting these are wonderful plants and underused. Mine are fairly young at only three years old, I will get better photos this spring. They do appreciate a bit of air circulation. I bought mine at both Bosky Dell Native Plants in West Linn, and at Livingscape Nursery in Porltland.


This is probably a familiar sight, Spiraea douglasii. This native shrub can reach 8 or so feet tall, and it spreads by runners. The fluffy pink blossoms attract all kinds of bees and is a lovely alternative to invasive butterfly bush (here in the Willamette Valley). It is a good plant for wet areas, but I have mine in the very dry in summer hell strip and it does quite well duking it out with the nootka rose.


Here it is in bloom, getting quite large. I hacked it back hard last week which it handles like a champ.


Sweet Polypodium scouleri or leathery polypody. I adore this little fern that grows slow and steady every season and does not die on me for any reason. Evergreen and tough. I have at least a dozen if not more sprinkled throughout in mostly shady situations.


Here's a member of the honeysuckle family, twinberry or Lonicera involucrata. It is a deciduous shrub that blooms with yellow flowers turning to dark purple double berries.


Here it is on the right, behind the potted lobelia, about two years old.


A small, inconspicuous flower that turns to a strange berry that the birds adore. The hummers love these flowers. It's a great shrub for all manner of wildlife. I cut mine back as it can get quite large for my small space. Luckily, it takes to pruning well.


Mimulus aurantiacus, my beloved orange monkeyflower. While technically not native to the Willamette Valley, it is native to the hotter areas of southwestern Oregon and California.


It is the banner image for my blog, I love it so much. Also called sticky monkey flower, its leaves are sticky. I have lost a few during deep freezes and super wet winters, but they are fairly easy to propagate from cuttings. I see in Annie's Annuals catalog they say to cut it back each fall, perhaps that's a good idea. They also list this plant as a good understory plant for oak trees and dry hillside areas. It does like it dry, so I push it a little in my wet Oregon garden.


Here are two forms of it, the orange on the left (without flowers at the moment) and a rustier version on the right. It takes to pruning very well.


Douglas aster or Aster subspicatus. This is an airy flowering plant that spreads like crazy. Great for meadows and naturalizing, I have it in our hell strip. I have pulled up a lot of it but it doesn't get too bad. I just see a lot of seedlings in the immediate area. It blooms all summer into fall and the bees adore it.


Just keeps on blooming.



Piggy back plant or Tomiea menziesii, this is 'Taff's Gold' which I purchased from Xera Plants last year. It performed so well that I bought a few more. This is in the newly planted area I blogged about here. Hey, there's a Polypodium scouleri on the right!



Here is Tolmiea menziesii in Forest Park.


Trout lily or Erythronium hendersonii.


Such interesting foliage. Henderson's fawn lily as photographed at Elk Rock Garden at the Bishop's Close, I blogged about it here.


Just elegant.


Licorice fern or Polypodium glycyrrhiza. These guys go dormant in the summertime at my home, they are everywhere in the forests around Portland. I love them, they hang from trees, mailboxes, posts and porches..single leaves that scream "forest"....so lush.


 Aren't they the most?


Lastly, Juncus effusus or common rush. This is actually a cultivar called 'Bay Blue' purchased at Xera plants. It doesn't get as large as the common rush. Remember, rushes are round and sedges have edges! I have had mixed results with juncus, some have just died out in the middle while others carry on without incident. They say juncus is great for stabilizing soil and for bioswales, in other words either really wet saturated soil or super dry soil, either extreme of which we get both here in the Willamette Valley.

So there are a few more Pacific Northwest native plants to add to your file of possibilities. I'll keep on adding if you'll keep on reading...there are really so many more interesting plants out there. Many of our gardening friends in the UK, for example, have known about our great plants here from the Pacific Northwest for decades and have enjoyed them in their own gardens. I too think we have a treasure trove of beauties waiting to be explored so let's do it!

For a great local resource, here's a link to Portland Metro's brochure about native plants for the Willamette Valley. I have used it often, it's a keeper!

Thank you for reading and until next week, happy gardening!

34 comments :

  1. I have a Lonicera ciliosa too, I am glad to read yours took awhile to get going. Mine took off fine when I planted it but then I had to move it and it's sulked. Hopefully this will be the year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huh, I wonder why they sulk so much…what did yours do? I had some powdery mildew issue for a while and it just stopped being vigorous for a spell too. I moved it a couple of times to find the perfect spot, it hated the full baking sun but once in deep shade it made its way to the dappled sun through an evergreen clematis and is now somewhat happy. We shall see. I have a second in nearly full sun in the front and it's plugging along.

      Delete
  2. Spiraea douglasii looks great, and I'm glad to hear it takes dry times pretty well. Although not really a problem here in St. Louis (yet), I'm replacing my butterfly bushes this year and this is a potential alternative. (Do I see a plant trade in our future?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spiraea douglasii is a great plant, it's really tough and I couldn't kill it if I tried or wanted to. It was actually suggested as an alternative to my former butterfly bush by the Backyard Habitat Cert. Program people who initially paid me a site visit a few years ago and I have been really happy with it since. The bees and butterflies really do love it.

      Delete
  3. Some of those natives look so ornamental and even exotic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's true, there really are some great ones that are tough as nails!

      Delete
  4. I wish I could grow some of the things that are native up there - like that beautiful trout lily! - but I expect most want much more water than I can provide. However, I have found a new (to me) California native I love, Solanum xanti, and its success has me looking for other natives adapted to our dry environment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, that would be lovely, wouldn't it? The woodland ones would need much more water than CA. BUT the Mimulus auruntiacus would love where you are, they love hot and dry. I will check out Solnum xanti. You might also want to check out Annie's Annuals - they have a whole section dedicated to California natives that like it dry and hot which are really great plants.

      Delete
  5. I have a tiny S. douglasii , grown from seeds I got from Ricki ... I just can't remember where I planted it .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohh cool…funny, I do that too sometimes. You'l find it eventually, right? :)

      Delete
  6. I love natives. Please keep posting about them! I'm especially fond of Asarum caudatum and I'm positively infatuated with Mimulus aurantiacus. My parents may even have a couple spots around the house now where I could work in a few. They didn't really have any good spots for it before. If you want to see some really impressive Polypodium scouleri in the wild, visit Beard's Hollow, Cape Disappointment, or Leadbetter Point State Park on the Long Beach Peninsula. Huge masses of it grow on the Sitka spruces there and the fronds reach their full size of 20 inches or so in the misty coastal forests. I'm sure there are other places, too, but that's the area I'm familiar with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK, will do, thanks for the feedback! The Mimulus is sooo cool and it comes in many shades of oranges and even whites and yellows I have seen on Annie's Annuals website. Thanks for the tips on the Polypodium and spruces - I will seek them out this spring and take many photos for the continuing blog posts! I really appreciate it!

      Delete
  7. Great to read a post about your native plants. I'm really fond of that Mimulus, a beauty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Janneke, I appreciate the feedback! The Mimulus is a favorite, for sure :)

      Delete
  8. These are some of my favorites too. I've tried to get that orange honeysuckle to grow several times with no success.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What happened with the honeysuckle? Seems many have had trouble with it…do share what happened, maybe it will help others.

      Delete
  9. I have Douglas spirea under my cedar tree, to keep it in check. It's stayed pretty small but still blooms!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice placement, Heather! Good idea. Have you seen how huge those things can get in the Fred Meyer parking lots? I mean OMG Godzilla sized…very cool but WOW. Cool flowers…glad yours is blooming. I have a colleague who has one in full shade and it's fine except it never blooms.

      Delete
  10. That is so true about the Juncus. I had a volunteer bunch in a dry spot. I dug it up and submerged it in my pond and it's happy as ever. And just in the past few years, Licorice ferns have taken root on my pear tree. I love them. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't you love the licorice ferns? They are so, oh I don't know…just tidy and green and fresh. Love 'em!

      Delete
  11. OK, you've convinced me to grow Mimulus. I have eschewed them, thinking of them as water-hungry plants and I grow everything dry. But I am starting a damp area for just this kind of beauty... Also, your lovely Lonicera resembles mine, which I believe to be L. hispidula -- does it bloom a bit on the pink side rather than clear orange? I bought it as L. ciliosa, but upon flowering, discovered that it was not!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! Mimulus ROCKS. It loves good drainage and hot sunny sits. At least the Mimulus auruntiacus does, the yellow Mimulus gutattus loves wet wet wet swampy areas. There are a couple native honeysuckles, the Lonicera hispida I blogged about in early January does have pink blooms, it's slightly hairy and nearly evergreen. They are both nice but very different vines. The hispida can grow anywhere…on the forest floor, full sun, rambles along without a care but the ciliosa seems to be a bit trickier as evidenced by other gardeners' comments here.

      Delete
  12. thanks for the great post and the helpful links! I need to get some more native stuff in my yard, as you well know. Before I moved into this house, I thought that whatever seems to grow well here was Native. I was so clueless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading, Fifi! We were all clueless at one point, believe me :) At least you're cool.

      Delete
  13. I had heard the the Spirea douglasii likes it damp, but I keep seeing it along roadsides, where it must get no supplemental water. Guess that means I can treat mine any old way and expect success. Love that Azalea. Has it remained immune to the lacewing scourge? Added that Mimulus last year...do hope it performs as well as yours. Keep up the good work of promoting natives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has remained immune to the dreaded lace bug, indeed! Mimulus has done well, I have lost a few to really wet weather and super cold spells but as I mentioned it's easy to propagate from cuttings. Thanks, Rickii! I will keep on doin' the native thang!

      Delete
  14. Rickii beat me to my question about the lace bug... The fact that it's deciduous should help, I suppose. I'm in love with the orange Mimulus, and the Honeysuckle too. Did you get both from Annie?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, no worries with the lace bug issue. The Mimulus I originally got a Cistus, actually and then Portland Nursery and then...oh - just the two, I think. Honeysuckle at Bosky Dell Natives in West Linn and I've seen it elsewhere although I can't remember...it's not super easy to find.

      Delete
    2. Thanks! I was just putting together a plant list for a project where the clients want me to recreate their hometown Bangalore, India where they have a huge annual flower show. So exciting! Anyway, of course I have to tailor it to our climate, and your post inspired me. Would you mind if I borrow a couple of your images to show them? I'm thinking I'll give the Honeysuckle a miss since it seems a bit troublesome, but I definitely want to use the Spiraea and the Mimulus.

      Delete
    3. Of course! Use whatever you like Anna, I have more if you need them, I can email if you need, just give the word!

      Delete
    4. Thanks Tamara! I really appreciate it! :)

      Delete
  15. So many wonderful choices! I'm really enjoying these posts highlighting some of your favorite native plants!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! Thanks, Jen - I appreciate the feedback and that people are liking the native angle. Thank you thank you! :)

      Delete
  16. I love that first shot. So lush and green. And your garden is so bright and fun (the shot with the table and chairs and the blue/red/orange building). Lots of pretty natives you have there, I look forward to seeing more :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comments! I love hearing them, I will approve comments as soon as I can. Yay!